Who is Bhagat Singh Koshyari?

Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari (Express Photo by Kamleshwar Singh)

As the logjam over government formation continues in Maharashtra, President Ram Nath Kovind imposed the President's Rule in the state. The President's order came following a recommendation by Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari. Koshyari, a veteran BJP leader and RSS functionary, had invited both BJP and Shiv Sena to prove majority in the state assembly, but both parties failed in their attempt. The governor had also given the NCP time till 8:30 pm today to stake claim to form the government, but the President's Rule was imposed before the deadline.

Who is Bhagat Singh Koshyari?

Born on June 17, 1942 at Palanadhura Chetabgarh in Bageshwar District of Uttarakhand, Koshyari has been active in politics since his student days. He completed his Master's Degree in English from Almora University in 1964, which was then affiliated with Agra University (now Kumaon University). During this period, he was the general secretary of the student's union of his college. He has also represented the Executive Council of Kumaon University, during 1979-82, 1982–85 and 1988-91.

Koshyari is associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological parent of the BJP. Like other RSS and Jan Sangh leaders, Koshyari also took active part in the struggle against the Emergency, where he was detained at Almora and Fatehgarh Central Jail under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA), on July 3, 1975. He was released on March 23, 1977.

Political career

In May 1997, Koshyari became a member of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council. After the bifurcation of Uttar Pradesh in 2000, he was appointed Minister of Energy, Irrigation, Law, and Legislative Affairs of the newly-created state of Uttaranchal (now Uttarakhand).

The turning point in Koshyari's political career came one year later when he replaced Nityanand Swami as the new chief minister of Uttaranchal. His cabinet included ministers like Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank', the current HRD minister and former Uttarakhand CM.

However, he held the post only for a year as the BJP lost the Assembly elections in the state in 2002. Thereafter till 2007, he played the role of the leader of the opposition of the Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly.

In 2007 state elections, the BJP won the mandate and Koshyari, who won the Kapkot assembly seat, was touted to return as the chief minister. However, the BJP preferred Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri over him.

In 2008, he was elected as a Rajya Sabha member from Uttarakhand. In 2014 Lok Sabha election, Koshyari won from Nainital-Udhamsingh Nagar.

He has also served as the BJP state chief in Uttarakhand.

On September 5 this year, Koshyari was named as the Governor of Maharashtra, succeeding C Vidyasagar Rao.

Life away from politics

Like many top RSS leaders, Koshyari is unmarried. He also worked as a teacher and journalist before venturing into politics. He had worked as a lecturer at Raja Inter College, Raja Ka Rampur, Etah district, Uttar Pradesh for a few years.

As a journalist, Koshyari is credited for founding and managing a weekly called Parvat Piyush, from Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand in 1975. He has also published two books, 'Uttaranchal Pradesh Kyun?' and 'Uttaranchal Sangharsh Evam Samadhan'. Besides this, he has written articles in several newspapers.